By far the biggest mistake marketers make is thinking social media is an insular activity that is strikingly different from the "real world." But the "real world" can't exist without social media, and social media can't exist without the real world.
Failing to connect the digital world and physical world is sure to create two types of failure:
1) Incomplete and less-effective social media marketing strategies.
2) Painful, slow sell-in of social media to traditional decision-makers.
I don't have a lot of gray hair, but I have just enough sprouting as a clue that I was one of the last generations to be trained in the old print ways. You see, I started out as a newspaper reporter before entering the advertising fray.
Cutting my teeth with newspaper ink on my hands, I learned how to lay down line-tape, use a photo wheel for calculating photo resizing, and eye the angle on a pica pole to make sure pasted-down columns were at 90-degree angles.
I'm a bit old soul combined with new school sensibilities -- blame my two-sided Gemini mind. But this has helped me formulate a few digital-to-social analogies to avoid #1 and #2 above.
Pinterest Is Like Window Displays In Your Store
No, you can’t sell directly in Pinterest. But, I wager your store’s window display can’t sell directly to a customer, either. That’s because both are meant to draw customers into the store for a purchase.
Your window draws in people walking by. Pinterest photos draw in people surfing by. Make either one unique, pretty or relevant enough and you’ll have a winner.
Twitter Is A Proactive-Capable Call Center
Just like a call center, Twitter allows customers to reach out to your business directly with complaints and kudos. Your business must then defuse the complaint or capitalize on the kudos.
Now, to get a little freaky Big Brother on you, imagine if your call center could also listen in to phone calls between two customers. When those customers started talking about your business, you could interject yourself – and it’d be appropriate!
That’s the opportunity with Twitter.
If Nothing Else, Facebook Is The World’s Largest Focus Group
Facebook can be many things: an incentive program, a DM engine, a conduit, a hub. But at its core, a Facebook Page is a business’ opportunity to speak directly to consumers and get feedback.
How much money does your company spend on advertising? Why aren’t you testing messaging and imagery on your biggest fans (aka, Facebook followers)?
How much money are you spending on creating digital content? Why aren’t you asking your ardent supporters what content they want?
How much money will you spend on your next national promotion? Why aren’t you testing that program at a smaller scale on Facebook?
Measure twice, cut once. That’s the opportunity with Facebook.
And Don’t Forget…
Pinterest and Instagram are two years old. Twitter is six. YouTube is seven. Facebook is eight. LinkedIn is a virtual granddaddy at nine.
It might seem as if social media is interwoven into our lives, but if you’re reading this, you’ve likely lived longer without it than with. To think we live in a world like “The Matrix” or “Minority Repor” is a huge mistake.
The best thing any business can do is make sure its social media team is located next to a window. That way they can look outside and remember there is a real world out there that people live in, more often than not.